October 10, 2015

Some good advice

Today I managed to shuffle across the finish like of the Freedom's Run marathon that ran through Harpers Ferry and the Antietam battlefield after what seemed to be about a week. At the beginning of the race I was almost overcome with emotion thinking about all that happened here.

This was my second time, so I knew what was coming. Mentally, I divided the race into four parts: the start, the grind, the suck and the death march.

The start is about five miles around Harpers Ferry, much of which was downhill. The grind is 10 miles along the Potomac towpath trail, which is mostly flat. The suck is about five miles of nasty hills leading to and through the Antietam battlefield. The death march is the final six mile stretch.

Marathoners often talk about hitting the wall around mile 20, when the body runs out of readily available fuel. One advantage of having a bad heart was that I didn't really hit it then. One disadvantage is that it was all wall all the time.

One bright spot is going through Sharpsburg, MD, where some road angels often post clever signs encouraging flagging runners.

One such sign today really hit home: "Embrace the suck."

For the record, I'm generally opposed to misery, but when misery time rolls around, as it will, and when there's no way out for a while, embracing the suck is pretty good advice.

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